Vacation Home Site Tries To Boost Renter Protections

By Michelle Baran
October 3, 2012

The vacation home rental market is booming, but what protections do renters have in the face of potentially inconsistent properties?

In a step towards attempting to alleviate that concern, has added an optional insurance product for its rentals that is meant to protect against a home that has been foreclosed on or is in bankruptcy, an owner who has double-booked the property, or a property that has been misrepresented in the ad.

The insurance starts at $29, and goes up from there. For instance, for a total rental price of $2,000, the insurance costs $65. For a $10,000 rental, it runs $325. The protection is good for up to $10,000 in coverage. But as with any insurance policy, renters should read the fine print.

For example, the item that probably catches most potential renters’ eyes is protection against a property that has been misrepresented. Anyone who has ever rented a vacation home has probably had some encounter with this item, but misrepresentation can be broadly interpreted.

In the terms and conditions section of what calls the "Happy Rental Guarantee," the site breaks down what the clause doesn't include in very precise detail.

Additionally, claims to prohibit owners from inflating their property reviews by having friends or family weigh in. How the site monitors this activity is not explained, however. But it did say that owners must pass a "rigorous screening process before being allowed to advertise their property on our site," executed by a third party "security enhancement firm."

What has been your experience with vacation home rentals? Do you feel the market needs to have more protections like these for renters? Why?

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